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Product design

Universal Wolf supports Lontra’s UK-made blade compressor

16 September 2020

Lontra partners with Universal Wolf for production of the first UK-made Blade Compressor®

Lontra, a pioneer in engineering, manufacturing and digital services, has named Universal Wolf as manufacturing partner for the new and innovative enclosures for its ground-breaking compressor design.

Lontra is committed to UK sourcing wherever possible and this is a major component of their new product line. The deal is expected to scale over time to many millions of pounds per annum.

It follows Lontra’s announcement in June that despite concerns over COVID-19, it had passed a key milestone and raised sufficient funds to enable it to start manufacture of the next industrial application of its revolutionary new Blade Compressor® technology. With proven reliability gains and energy savings, and an impressive export market due to the wide applicability of the product, the Lontra Blade Compressor® is the first clean-sheet compressor design in over 80 years. It can be used across many sectors such as aerospace, automotive, food and beverage, pharmaceutical manufacture and water treatment.

Production of Lontra’s enclosures here at our Blyth facility starts in September 2020 and will see Universal Wolf support Lontra in its plans to produce many thousands of machines. The new LP2 compressor is set to disrupt an $84 billion global market, with growing demand in the USA, where Lontra already has established distribution and sales outlets in place.

Alasdair Waugh, Managing Director at Universal Wolf comments on the significant collaboration between the two businesses:

“Universal Wolf is committed to supporting UK businesses. We have worked closely with Lontra during the prototyping stage for the product, and we are delighted to now be working in partnership with the team to manufacture the enclosure for their game-changing Blade Compressor®. Over the years of working with Lontra, Universal Wolf has invested heavily in its production facilities and capabilities, with CAPEX investment reaching nearly £1 million since 2017. This continued investment means that we are able to effectively scale to the requirements of customers like Lontra.”

Universal Wolf is one half of the industry-disrupting Tharsus Group, alongside Tharsus, a maker of strategic machines. We have worked with Midlands-based Lontra to jointly develop the enclosure, creating a unique product that is robust, efficient, sound attenuating and can be used both inside and outdoors without modification.

The partnership and investment highlights positive alliance amongst Britain’s dynamic small and mid-size manufacturers. The news comes off the back of August’s manufacturing PMI figures, showing the sector’s highest level of growth in six years, which in turn emphasises the sector’s strength and agility, paving the way to recovery for UK manufacturing.

Steve Lindsey, CEO at Lontra commented:

“Universal Wolf matched our ambition and free-thinking design and engineering; our collaborative innovation approach is helping drive high-value manufacturing and productivity in the UK.
“We wanted to work with a business who could grow with us and this was evident from the beginning. Our shared experiences of working in traditional industries and applying new and innovative solutions are a model for how British manufacturing can reinvent itself for the digital age.”

Craig Brown, Business Development Director at Universal Wolf also commented:

“A small business with such a fundamental scale of volume and ambition to become well-established in manufacturing is unheard of in these times. Lontra truly feeds into the notion that the UK can be a confident global competitor when it comes to assembly manufacturing. This is a partnership that transcends the transactional relationship between the customer and supplier and it’s what has made the process successful. By working collaboratively, I am confident that we have created a product that is manufacturable and cost-effective whilst at the same time achieving the design we set out to achieve.”

The new LP2 is expected to be of great interest to many industries, as energy efficiency, noise and reliability become ever more challenging. It is already demonstrated to be up to 34% more efficient than its competitors, offering incredible energy savings along with step-change improvements in reliability and management.